Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why MLB should retroactively award Armando Galarraga with a perfect game.

1. He threw a perfect game.

2. Changing the ruling from a hit to an out would not change the outcome of the game.

3. Until they change the ruling from a hit to an out, the baseball record book will be factually inaccurate.

4. We should not treat the decisions of middle-management functionaries (umpires) as sacrosanct.

5. On mainstream sports talk radio no one appears to be in favor of doing this, which means that it is almost certainly the correct thing to do.

Mostly people are putting forth hypotheticals like:

a. What if the next guy hit a two run home run? Would you overturn the victory too?

b. What if he was awarded a perfect game based on a bad call? Would you take it away from him?

c. There's a slippery slope!

As to (a), the answer is yes. If a team is cheated out of a victory on a walk-off play I see no problem with overturning that loss. If I may posit a similar hypothetical, let's imagine that we are in sudden death overtime in an NFL game. Ryan Grant takes a hand-off from the one and breaks the plane of the goal line, however, the ref blows the call and as he is knocked back, he fumbles. Lance Briggs recovers and takes the ball all the way back for a TD.

They review the play and determine that Grant scored and the Packers are "awarded" a victory that the Bears "already had". Two questions.

i. How is this situation different?

ii. In this situation, why does it matter how much time goes by after the fact before you change the ruling? Both plays are "walk-off" events.

As to (b), yes. It may not be possible in this scenario to have the teams continue to play the game if enough time has gone by, due to logistical issues. That said, I have no problem with stripping someone of a perfect game that was not a perfect game.

As to (c), if the slippery slope is towards getting more calls right, I have no problem with it. I also think that this is a situation where it is simple to limit the slippery slope as this was a game-ending event.

Finally, I'm sick of hearing about what a nice guy Jim Joyce is or how respected he is. I don't care. That call was awful. It was an easy call. I would have more sympathy for a bang-bang play, a close play, or if his view was obstructed by something unusual. If you put me in his position, I will make this call right 100/100 times. It wasn't close. This was a monumental screw-up.

I realize it is unorthodox to change this kind of a call after the fact, but that is not a good reason not to do so. In my mind the kid threw a perfect game whether or not baseball says he did. They should make it official.

And they should use more replay.


DannyNoonan said...

The only part I disagree with is this:

"If you put me in his position, I will make this call right 100/100 times."

Bullshit. The problem here isn't that Jim Joyce was the guy making calls rather than somebody else. It's that a human being is making the calls without the aid of replay. ALL umpires make mistakes and I assure you the hypothetical Paul Noonan umpire would make tons of them.

Jon said...

I agree on the replay front, and i don't have a problem with MLB officially calling it a perfect game if they want to. My question is why does it matter. Galarraga knows he threw a perfect game. People who watched know that he did. Why does he/we need MLB to tell him that he did. He even said so himself, i know i did it, i'll show my children the DVD, it doesn't matter that its not in a book. I found his reaction to everything extremely refreshing. In fact, he'll get more publicity/fame from this than if he had thrown the perfect game. Harvey Haddix is still remembered for throwing 12 perfect innings and not being credited. This guy will get the same thing happen to him. And its not like not having it be "official" costs him $ or anything.

E.S.K. said...

1. I'm with Danny. You're not infallible Paul. I guaranty if you umpire for 20 years you'll make plenty of mistakes.

2. This is the system MLB uses. They refused to expand replay and were hesitant to even apply it to home runs. Since this is the system they live by, they need to die by it too.

3. The record books should acknowledge the perfect game by skipping #21 when listing them. The next perfecto should be #22.

PaulNoonan said...

1. I would make lots of mistakes. I really don't think I would make this one. How safe would a runner have to be before you would never mistake him for being out?

2. They can change whatever they want. Now is as good a time as any. "Rules are rules" has never impressed me much.

3. How is that better?

Jon, I like the attitude, and I think even if they made it "official" that he would still be the super famous "they screwed up my perfect game" guy. I just don't see any downside to fixing this.

E.S.K. said...

It's not better, it's just funnier and reminds me of the 1992 Wisconsin Hockey team. (It wasn't a serious idea).